Banking from A to F – HumbleDollar

Richard Quinn | July 27, 2020

YOU MAY HAVE heard me say this before: I don’t think people need to budget if they have an effective spending and saving system.

Recently, a reader of my blog challenged me on that point, arguing that you need a budget to ensure you’ll have enough to pay off your credit cards in full.

Au contraire, as we say here in New Jersey.

You may also have heard of the envelope method, where some people place money in envelopes for specific expenses. I follow that approach. But instead of envelopes, I use bank accounts—six of them to be exact, which I designate with letters A through F.

I also embrace technology to help with saving and bill paying, and I leverage credit cards to garner rewards. You see, I’m not your stereotypical senior citizen.

Don’t worry: I don’t pay bank fees. The accounts are all linked and always hold sufficient combined balances to get free banking. My income is from a pension and Social Security.

My pension arrives on the first of the month, while our Social Security benefits get deposited on the second and fourth Wednesday. When that happens, this happens:

Checking account (A). Receives pension deposit.

Checking account (B). Receives a set amount from account A to cover all ongoing monthly bills.

Checking account (C). Receives a set amount from account A that my wife uses for her monthly expenses. Things like clothes, nails, haircare, gifts and donations.

Savings account (D). Receives the Social Security checks. These are segregated because we try to live on my pension alone.

Savings account (E). Receives a set amount each month from account A and is designated my wife’s savings.

Savings account (F). Receives a set amount from account A and is designated my savings.

Don’t get me wrong, none of this is really my money or her money. While these accounts have specific purposes, we aren’t so inflexible that we don’t move money from here to there if it’s necessary—but it’s also rare. I’ve been known to pay for my wife’s hair salon visits from account A. Similarly, account C has bailed me out on occasion.

Read the rest of my story about budgets, bills technology at the link below:

Source: Banking from A to F – HumbleDollar


  1. I had to look up the word budget to see if my understanding of the word was wrong.

    How do you know how much money to put into each envelope or bank account? What do you call that when you decide how much to deposit each month? Do you determine the amount by past history or a future plan expense?

    Unlike government, I only spend what I have or I have a plan on how I am going to pay off the debt (think cars and mortgages). I happen to use software and multiple bank accounts. It just works for me managing my cash, credit cards, 401Ks, etc.

    I never heard anyone say, I going to envelope my money for Christmas gifts, but I have heard of people say I have a Christmas gift budget that I am saving for.

    People just don’t like the word “budget” because they think it is hard work when its is really knowing where you are spending and saving your money. Call it what want, it is all the same thing. A saving and spending plan by whatever method you choose or a name is still a budget or a “plan” if you prefer. Not saving so money to pay the electric bill is not a plan.


    1. Most expenses are fixed at least for a year; utilities, cable, insurance, HOA, property taxes, etc. The travel account is simple, money goes in each month, but if there is no travel, there is no spending and there is no travel if there is no money. Charge accounts are paid as the money is spent. There is never a balance subject to interest.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s